‘To Outsource or not to Outsource, that is the question’. Not one posed by William Shakespeare, but by thousands of small businesses going through the transition from a small business with around 10-20 staff to 50-70 employees.
Suddenly as businesses start to grow they so often make the mistake of bringing non-core operational functions in-house.
“I am a great advocate for keeping non-core functions – particularly IT – outsourced. My advice has always been to stick to the knitting. If you’re a good baker, bake – don’t IT, or graphic design, or HR, outsource these non-core function and focus on the cakes,” says Gary David Smith, CEO and Co-founder, Prism Solutions (www.prism.uk.com)
“As the reigns are loosened on recruitment considerations, don’t fall into the trap of shelling out £25,000-£30,000 per annum on a dedicated IT manager, for instance. Where would you then go for back up when they have time off for sickness or five weeks annual leave? Where will business continuity come from if they walk off the job? Churn in staff numbers is difficult to manage in any organization but when the one individual holds the IT knowledge this risk is far greater exposed. You don’t want just one point of failure, but for risk to be spread. Paying around £9,500 - £10,000 annually for 30 staff to be advised and guided by a MSP is more economic but also smarter.”
“Outsourcing is cheaper and offers better value,” says Smith. “Would your internal IT manager be properly exposed to the frenetically changing technology trends, that require constant training and an ear to the ground? Dedicated professionals such as the 50 frontline staff working at Prism, from different backgrounds and sectors, are much more plugged in when it comes to IT. Prism can also provide you with enhanced State-of-the-art tools and reporting.”
According to Smith, bringing outsourced elements in-house is a common mistake SMEs make as they grow, especially where SME tech is concerned.
Your MSP (Managed Service Provider) will have multiple clients from many verticals, differing in size and where they are on the journey.
With any type of Outsourcing, you should always expect guaranteed response through service level agreements. These are commonly used by Internet Service Providers (ISP) and telephone companies but are now more prevalent in the MSP (managed service provider) space, previously the preserve of larger providers for enterprise clients these are now becoming standard in SME world.